One of the most coveted media jobs in town is now open.
Preston Padden, Walt Disney Co.'s executive vice president of worldwide government relations, is retiring. Padden heads Disney's Washington office and leads a lobbying operation that has spent roughly $3.83 million so far this year. The company works with outside firms Cassidy & Associates and American Continental Group, and has paid each $90,000 so far this year, lobbying disclosure reports show.
Padden said he doesn't officially step down until January 2011, but, in practice, expects a new head of government relations to be named sometime next year. Padden, 61, said he plans to move to Colorado, near his children, and teach at the University of Colorado School of Law.
Disney's 10-person Washington office lobbies on a range of issues from copyright to travel and tourism. The company's iconic status makes the job easier, Padden said, adding, "You walk in, you hand somebody a business card with Mickey Mouse on it, the meeting is going to start great."
During his 12 years with Disney, Padden successfully lobbied to extend the copyright on Mickey Mouse, and took a lead role lobbying against aspects of the AOL - Time Warner merger. Read a 2004 Influence profile of Padden here.
Michelle Bergman, a spokeswoman for Disney, said that "eventually, there will be someone named to that position," but no decision has been made. In a switch, whoever is appointed to the job will report to Alan Braverman, the company's general counsel. Padden reported directly to chief executive Robert Iger.